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The Washington Post: Resignation Ends Ethics Probe of Ex-Rep. Nathan Deal

Apr 1, 2010
News Article
AMONG THE many frustrating aspects of the congressional ethics process is the fact that, in the rare circumstances when the ethics committees seem poised to act against a member of Congress, lawmakers can short-circuit the inquiry by resigning. Once they're out the door, Congress loses its jurisdiction to discipline them.
Georgia Republican Rep. Nathan Deal might have had that solution in mind when he resigned March 21, just minutes before the ethics committee faced a deadline to act in his case. Fortunately for the citizens of his state, and unfortunately for Mr. Deal, a new ethics watchdog, the Office of Congressional Ethics
(OCE), did not drop the matter. The office, an independent panel created by a 2007 ethics and lobbying reform law, conducts investigations and makes recommendations for further action to the House Ethics Committee. Five days after Mr. Deal's resignation, the OCE voted to releasethe review
it had sent in January to the ethics panel, finding "substantial reason to believe" that Mr. Deal, who is running for governor of Georgia, might have violated ethics rules. [READ MORE]